By: Will Maule
Hidden somewhere deep within our biological make-up is an ardently stubborn gene which makes it almost impossible for us to freely admit when we are wrong and need to change our ways. Stubbornness, mixed with a fair dose of pride, means that a healthy habit of repentance is extremely difficult to attain, let alone maintain. Too often, we think it is weak to apologize, to admit you were in the wrong, and to vow to change direction. The reality, however, is that true repentance does not demonstrate weakness, but strength.
For men, exercising repentance can be excruciatingly difficult. Indeed, through years of cultural molding, the male psyche is geared towards thinking that to be vulnerable is to admit to being wrong, and to be wrong is utterly mortifying. When actually, the reality is very different: there is nothing more manly than true, biblical repentance.
Repentance requires immense strength
Because it contradicts everything within our human nature, repentance requires a huge amount of effort.
“Repentance is one of the most masculine exercises you can engage in,” remarked Prof. David Murray of the Christian Man Academy. “It requires courage, strength, resolution, perseverance and honesty. Real men repent.”
Jesus calls us to repent
Contained within the first sermon Jesus ever preached were the convicting words, “Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:5). It is so easy to forget, but a central part of being a Christian is also possessing the ability to know when you’ve messed up, to recognize this and to ask God for forgiveness and the impetus to change.
“We cannot believe in Christ without repenting from sin,” says Murray. “And we cannot repent from sin without believing in Christ.”
Repentance leads to life
Far from leaving us wallowing in shame, true Biblical repentance allows for us to be set free and to move away from our former sins and into new life. As 2 Corinthians 7:10 perfectly expounds, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret.”
The Greek word for repentance as specified within the biblical manuscripts is “Metanoeo,” which means “to change one’s mind for the better” and to turn actively away from past offenses or “heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins.”
Such is the wonderful opportunity afforded to us by the grace of our Lord Jesus to be freed from that which has ensnared us in the past and to move forward, full of faith, into new life with Him.
“It’s not just about stopping evil,” Murray notes. “It’s about starting good.”